How to Find the Best Ultrasound Tech Course Near Glendale Arizona
Now that you have decided to pursue an ultrasound technician degree near Glendale AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. First, you need to find the right program that will provide the appropriate training to become a skilled professional. And because a number of states do require that sonographers be either certified or licensed, depending on your residence you may also need preparation to pass a certification or licensing exam. So it's very important that you research each school so that you can assess and compare your options. But just where does one start? A number of students will begin by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their residences and then by comparing tuition. Of course location and cost should be taken into account when making a decision, but there are additional important factors as well. Such as, if the ultrasound technician schools are accredited or if they sponsor internship programs. These and other qualifiers will be addressed more in depth later in this article. But to start with, let's go over what a sonogram tech does and the credentials and online education programs that are offered.
Sonogram Tech Work Description
There are more than one professional titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also called ultrasound technologists, sonogram techs, and diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers). Regardless of name, they all have the same basic job function, which is to perform diagnostic ultrasound testing on patients. Even though a number of techs practice as generalists there are specializations within the profession, for example in pediatrics and cardiology. Most work in Glendale AZ hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. Typical daily job duties of an ultrasound technician may include:
- Preserving records of patient case histories and details of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Prepping the ultrasound machines for use and then cleaning and re-calibrating them
- Moving patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
- Operating equipment while limiting patient exposure to sound waves
- Evaluating results and determining need for supplemental testing
Ultrasound techs must routinely evaluate the performance and safety of their equipment. They also must adhere to a high professional standard and code of conduct as health practitioners. In order to sustain that level of professionalism and remain up to date with medical knowledge, they are required to complete continuing education programs on a regular basis.
Ultrasound Technician Degree Programs Available
Ultrasound technician students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will generally require around 18 months to 2 years to accomplish depending on the program and class load. A Bachelor's Degree will require more time at as long as 4 years to complete. Another alternative for individuals who have previously earned a college degree is a post graduate certificate program. If you have obtained a Bachelor's Degree in any major or an Associate Degree in a related medical sector, you can instead choose a certificate program that will take only 12 to 18 months to complete. Something to bear in mind is that the majority of sonographer programs do have a clinical training component as a portion of their curriculum. It often may be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many colleges organize with Glendale AZ clinics and hospitals. When you have graduated from one of the degree or certificate programs, you will then need to satisfy the licensing or certification requirements in Arizona or whatever state you elect to practice in.
Ultrasound Technology Specialties
Ultrasound technology, or diagnostic sonography, has become more popular for diagnosing internal medical conditions because, unlike other medical imaging tools such as X-rays or CT Scans, ultrasound doesn’t expose the body to radiation. This safer approach has made ultrasound imaging the preferred method for testing pregnant women and infants, who have a higher risk for complications due to radiation. However, babies and expectant mothers are not the only ones who can benefit from ultrasound imaging and it is used in many ways to diagnose illness in the body. Following is a partial list of ultrasound technician education specialties available in the Glendale AZ area:
- Musculoskeletal sonographers can create real-time images of joint injuries, assisting orthopedic surgeons and sports physicians in their diagnosis and treatment.
- Abdominal sonographers specialize in generating images of abdominal internal organs and tissues, such as the pancreas, spleen, liver and gallbladder.
- Breast sonographers conduct ultrasound scans using a sound frequency specifically targeted for breast tissue to evaluate tumors and other abnormalities as a method of verifying or contradicting the results of a mammogram.
- Obstetrics/Gynecology sonographers work with women to scan their reproductive organs and assess the development and health of fetuses throughout the pregnancy.
- Echocardiography sonographers are trained in the imaging and evaluation of the heart, its valves and vessels, and the blood flow to and from the heart.
- Vascular technologists are trained to use ultrasound technology to identify damaged areas or blockages in blood vessels, and to gauge the flow of blood through veins and arteries.
- Ophthalmology sonographers conduct diagnostic tests on the eyes and surrounding muscles and tissue.
- Neurosonology sonographers are specially trained to use ultrasound imaging to detect blockages, tumors or abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord.
Online Sonogram Tech Classes
As aforementioned, nearly all ultrasound technician colleges have a clinical component to their programs. So while you can receive a degree or certificate online, a substantial portion of the training will be either conducted in an on campus laboratory or at a sponsored off-campus medical care provider. Clinical training can often be fulfilled by means of an internship at a local Glendale AZoutpatient clinic, hospital or family practice. However the balance of the training and classes may be attended online in your Glendale home. This is especially beneficial for those individuals that keep working while earning their degrees. Plus online schools are frequently less expensive than on-campus alternatives. Costs for commuting and study materials may be lessened as well. But similarly as with any sonographer school you are considering, confirm that the online program you enroll in is accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is especially crucial for licensing, certification and finding employment (more on accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn outside of the classroom in the comfort of your own home, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Ultrasound Tech Colleges
After you have determined which degree or certificate that you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of evaluating and comparing sonogram technician colleges. You may first want to decide whether you will attend classes online or travel to a college campus in the Glendale AZ area. Naturally location will be critical if you decide on the latter, and the cost of tuition undoubtedly will be an important qualifier as well. But there are additional factors that you should also take into consideration, for instance if the colleges are accredited and if they sponsor internships. Therefore in order to complete your due diligence so that you can arrive at your ultimate selection, below are several questions that you may want to ask each sonographer program prior to making a decision.
Are the Ultrasound Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of sonogram technician schools have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to verify that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of sonography is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRC-DMS have gone through a rigorous review of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Glendale AZ employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the ultrasound tech schools you are reviewing have relationships with Glendale AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Glendale healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without support. Find out if the ultrasound tech schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Glendale AZ residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the ultrasound technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the sonographer program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Glendale AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Glendale Ultrasound Technician Program
Picking the ideal ultrasound technician certificate or degree program is an important first step to launching a gratifying new profession delivering diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound tech programs require that you have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Apart from meeting academic requirements, you should be in at least reasonably good physical condition, able to stand for prolonged durations with the ability to routinely lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it typically necessary to position patients and move heavy equipment. Additional helpful skills include technical proficiency, the ability to remain collected when confronted by an anxious or angry patient and the ability to converse in a clear and compassionate manner. As we have addressed in this post, there are multiple questions that you should ask each program you are considering. This holds true whether you choose an online program or drive to the school campus to attend classes. And by asking the appropriate questions so that you can compare each program, you can narrow down your options until you are left with the best school for your education. And with the right training, discipline and motivation to succeed, you can achieve your objective to work as an ultrasound technologist in Glendale Arizona.